Is your house going to flood because of climate change? These maps will tell you

Is your house going to flood because of climate change? These maps will tell you

As climate change makes it more likely that many houses in the U.S. will flood—because of rising sea levels, extreme rainfall, or both—federal flood maps, which are used to determine rates for flood insurance, are out of date. A new report maps out where homes now are most at risk, looking at the chances of properties flooding now and 30 years in the future. By the middle of the century, the damage could cost $32 billion a year.

“The current FEMA models also don’t consider the direct risk from heavy rain. In cities like Houston, for example, where roads and other pavement blocks water from being absorbed into the ground.”

ADELE PETERS

“Climate is not considered in any way in the current mapping structure for FEMA and how they create insurance,” says Matthew Eby, executive director of First Street Foundation, the nonprofit that created the report. “The program started in 1968, and really kicked off in 1970. Some of the maps that exist are still from the ’70s and ’80s.” The maps also show “special flood hazard” areas, but not the individual risk of a particular home, and because of how the federal program was created, also don’t map some regions of the country—only places that opted in…

You need all 6 pieces of the puzzle to build urban resilience, but too often it’s politics that leaves a gap

With most of the world’s people now living in urban areas, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of urban resilience. It’s just as important for adapting to climate change.

Put simply, resilience is the ability of a system, in this case a city, to cope with a disruption. This involves either avoiding, resisting, accommodating or recovering from its impacts.

Cities that preserve areas of mangroves can reduce their flood risks. Ecopix/Shutterstock

Our research, recently published in the journal Urban Research and Practice, examined two coastal Australian cities, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Our aim was to identify ways to improve urban resilience to coastal climate hazards. We found the political aspect of resilience is often overlooked but is critically important.

Contrary to popular belief, building cities that are resilient to the impacts of climate change is not just about infrastructure. Urban resilience also has ecological, social, economic, institutional and, most importantly, political dimensions…

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